In These States With High Covid Transmission Rates, The CDC Is Recommending Residents Mask Up

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In These States With High Covid Transmission Rates, The CDC Is Recommending Residents Mask Up

Topline

There are 36 states that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says have elevated levels of Covid-19 transmission where many counties — and in some cases all — fall under the agency’s new recommendation to mask-up, regardless of vaccination status.

Key Facts

The CDC on Tuesday recommended that vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans wear masks in public places indoors in areas where over the previous seven days there have been more than 50 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people or the Covid-19 positive test rate exceeds 8% — currently 63.4% of U.S. counties meet that threshold.

There are 20 states that on average have a “high” rate of transmission, which means there are more than 100 cases per 100,000 people on average a week or a greater than 10% test positivity rate, and the CDC recommends most counties resume mask mandates — they include Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia.

In Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas, all counties are considered high transmission zones.

States with a “substantial” rate of transmission — defined as 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people on average a week or an 8% to 9.9% testing positivity rate — include California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico and Illinois.

While there are no states that are considered to have a “low” rate of transmission, 14 states have a “moderate” rate of transmission and most counties don’t fall under the indoor mask recommendations, including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Some counties and cities in states with higher transmission rates have already reissued mask mandates, like St. Louis and Los Angeles County, and others have issued recommendations, like Orange County, Florida, and Austin, Texas.

Key Background

The CDC loosened its guidance on mask wearing two months ago due to decreasing Covid-19 cases, but since then, cases have spiked around the country due to the spread of the Delta variant, a more easily transmissible form of the virus that has caused an alarming number of breakthrough infections among the vaccinated — though vaccines still appear to be effective against the variant in preventing severe illness. On Tuesday, the CDC reported over 53,000 new cases and 286 deaths, up from 44,000 cases and 273 deaths a week ago.

What To Watch Out For

Whether more state and local governments and businesses require employees to get vaccinated. California has required all state employees to provide proof they’re vaccinated against Covid as of Aug. 2 or submit to weekly testing, an order that also covers healthcare workers and workers in jails, homeless shelters and senior residential facilities. New York City issued a vaccine mandate that will start in September for 34,000 of its city workers. Workers at city-run hospitals also need to get vaccinated by Aug. 2.

Further Reading

CDC Recommends Masks Again —Including For Fully Vaccinated In Certain Places—Amid ‘Worrisome’ New Science About Delta Variant (Forbes)

St. Louis The Latest City Tightening Covid Guidelines—See Full List (Forbes)

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